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Buying a home in San Antonio can be both exciting and intimidating. Although it’s exciting to become a homeowner, taking the necessary steps could still be overwhelming. Financing can add an extra layer of confusion, too, which is why it’s good to learn the process before even applying for a mortgage. Fortunately, doing so is easier than you think.
Before Applying for a Mortgage
San Antonio is a city with plenty to offer. In addition to the River Walk and Alamo Mission, the city’s beautiful scenery and affordable cost of living make it a great place to live. These could be a few reasons San Antonio’s population increased from 1.3 million to 1.4 million and the homeownership rate was an impressive 55 percent from 2010 to 2014, according to the Census Bureau.
If homeownership in San Antonio is on your radar, now is a great time to begin your search. But if financing is needed, take these steps before beginning the application process. “You need a trusted partner, such as a lender or realtor who will take the time and explain the process in detail,” said Vickie Kearney, loan processor at Air Force FCU. “Do some research on your own after you speak with professionals, such as HUD.gov, home buying guides or the internet.”
Along with doing your own research, follow these three steps to prepare for homeownership.
1. Check Your Credit Score
Lenders use your FICO credit scores to gauge loan eligibility. Find out whether your credit score is high enough before applying for a loan by checking with the three major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. If it’s lower than you’d like, you can take the time to improve it before applying.
2. Find Out How Much You Can Afford
It’s also good to consider the loan amount you can afford before starting an application. Use a loan calculator to help you find out how much you’re able to spend on a house based on preferred monthly payments, taxes, fees, dues, insurance and more.
3. Get Preapproved
Another step is to get preapproved for a loan before you start looking for homes. Preapproval helps you determine your loan eligibility, based on your income level, credit score and other factors. Air Force FCU, for example, offers mortgage loans at rates that rival the national average, for up to 30 years.
After You’ve Applied for Your Loan
Once you’ve found your home and applied for a loan, the lender starts the verifying process. If your loan is approved, your lender will begin pre-closing, which involves ordering the title insurance and scheduling the loan’s closing time. Usually, within 45 days of applying, the lender finishes the loan process and the borrower buys the house.
Here are some quick tips to consider once you’ve secured your mortgage and purchased your home.
1. Maintain a Budget and Save
It’s a great idea to keep track of mortgage payments, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and other related payments by maintaining a budget. It’s also good to set aside several months of mortgage payments in case of an emergency. That savings cushion could help you in many unexpected emergencies.
2. Always Pay Your Bill on Time
Paying your bills on time will ensure you don’t incur penalty fees and hurt your credit score. Always make your mortgage payment on time and, if possible, also make extra payments to reduce interest costs and pay off your loan faster.
Once you’ve researched, applied for and secured your mortgage, you will be ready to move into your home. Just being in the know and staying on top of your mortgage-related financial responsibilities will make owning a home less confusing and more exciting.